NHS England delays its consultation on transferring child cancer care

Published: Friday, June 23, 2023

  • Consultation moved back to the autumn.
  • More time for people to have their say.
  • Council leader says consultation must be 'comprehensive and meaningful'.

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Council leader Simon Hogg hears the views of senior medical staff at St George's

Council leader Simon Hogg has welcomed a decision by NHS England to delay its consultation into the future of child cancer care in South London and south east England.

The public consultation on the location of the new Principal Treatment Centre for paediatric cancer care was due to begin in June or July, but has now been put back to the autumn.

Councillor Hogg has previously written to the Secretary of State with concerns about the potential transfer of children’s cancer services away from St George’s Hospital. He has also called for the NHS to ensure its consultation is “thorough, fair, and prioritises the voices of families affected by children’s cancer.”

Responding to this week’s news, he said: “I am pleased that NHS England has listened to the concerns we have raised about the process so far, and delayed its consultation timetable to give local people more time to consider and engage with the process.

This is a crucial decision and it would have been unacceptable to conduct a major consultation in a rushed way.

“NHS England must use this extra time wisely to ensure that the public consultation is comprehensive and meaningful, and captures the voices of families who are affected.”

His concerns were echoed by Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan who said: “It is vital that NHS England listens carefully to the voices of cancer patients and their families before making any decision. The consultation needs to be fair and impartial and not pre-judge the outcome.”

Just a few days ago the mother of a young cancer sufferer told councillors in Wandsworth of her concerns about the potential transfer of children’s cancer services.

Jenny Houghton was invited to address last week’s Wandsworth Health Committee and said it was “shocking” that parents’ voices were not being listened to.

She said NHS England was unable or unwilling to answer questions about their proposals and spoke of the deep concerns parents had about the prospect of having to travel to central London for treatment.

Councillor Kate Forbes has been appointed to lead a cross party group of councillors representing communities across South West London and Surrey, who have been tasked with conducting detailed and rigorous scrutiny of the NHS England proposals.